Hearing scheduled for woman accused of crash that killed firefighter

EL CAJON - A preliminary hearing is scheduled Wednesday for a woman accused of causing a head-on crash on Buckman Springs Road that killed a federal firefighter as he headed home from work on his motorcycle.

Natasia Wood is charged with felony manslaughter in the death of 37-year- old Darin Steffey. She's accused of slamming into the U.S. Forest Service firefighter's motorcycle about 6:15 p.m. Oct. 3, according to the California Highway Patrol.

The defendant was traveling north on Buckman Springs Road -- going more than 70 mph -- when her 2008 Dodge Durango drifted to the right shoulder and she overcompensated, steering the SUV directly into the path of Steffey's southbound motorcycle, said CHP Officer Kevin Pearlstein. Steffey was pronounced dead at the scene.

Steffey was a career firefighter with the Forest Service and was assigned to the department's Glencliff station on Old Highway 80.

Following Wednesday's preliminary hearing, a judge will decide whether enough evidence was presented for Wood to stand trial.

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